NEWS RELEASE: “If we want to ensure Saskatchewan gets the most benefit out of its abundant natural resources, does it make more sense to have a few companies paying a lower percentage of tax, or zero amount of companies paying a higher percentage of tax?” – Keith Moen
The Saskatchewan Growth Coalition (Coalition) is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan to take immediate action to address the growing competitiveness problems in Saskatchewan’s rural municipalities. The Coalition has identified two major problems that are severely limiting our ability to generate the investment needed to reach the ambitions in Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth: inequitable municipal property taxes and a lack of financial transparency.
The province has been aware of these issues for years. In response to a 2019 StarPhoenix investigation, that found nearly half of municipalities failed to have websites, the province committed to implementing a system to increase municipal financial transparency (like those already in place in Alberta and Ontario) – but they have failed to act.
On average, in rural municipalities with resources, industry accounts for approximately 40 per cent of property assessments but pays 65 per cent of total property taxes. In addition to taxes, many RMs charge industry road, maintenance, and development fees and levies that far exceed the additional strain on municipal infrastructure caused by increased economic activity.
From 2014 – 2020 Saskatchewan rural municipalities increased taxes on industry by 16 per cent, while during that same period capital investment in Saskatchewan’s mining, oil and natural gas industry decreased by nearly 60 per cent, and jobs in the sector fell by 29 per cent.
Saskatchewan’s business community has been trying to work collaboratively with rural municipalities for years, but it is clear we need provincial leadership to address these growing issues if we want to keep Saskatchewan strong.
The time is now for government to create a competitive property tax system by addressing issues of transparency, accountability, and tax equity. This is a chance to grow industries, grow job opportunities, build resilient communities, and create opportunities for Saskatchewanians to build a life in the province.
About the Saskatchewan Growth Coalition:
The Saskatchewan Growth Coalition (SGC) represents over 20 industries critical to Saskatchewan’s economic recovery, future growth, and continued prosperity. We are a partnership of organizations representing rail, agriculture and agri-food, mining, oil and gas, pipelines, and the broader Saskatchewan business community.
We believe Saskatchewan has the potential to be one of the most desirable places in Canada to invest and do business.
“If we want to ensure Saskatchewan gets the most benefit out of its abundant natural resources, does it make more sense to have a few companies paying a lower percentage of tax, or zero amount of companies paying a higher percentage of tax?” – Keith Moen, Executive Director, NSBA – Saskatoon’s Business Association
“For more than a decade, a lack of transparency and uncompetitive municipal taxes has been severely undermining the efforts of businesses and the province to grow our economy. Some municipalities seem content to continuously grab a bigger piece of a shrinking pie rather than work together to grow the pie for everyone. This is pushing investment dollars into other provinces and countries. The Saskatchewan Growth Coalition’s goal is to bring business, municipalities and the province together and reach real solutions that can drive investment back into Saskatchewan, kickstart our economic recovery and meet the goals of the 2030 Saskatchewan Plan for Growth.” – David MacLean, Vice President SK & AB, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
“Municipal property tax has been a long and arduous policy issue facing Saskatchewan. First, is the issue of transparency. Everyone should have access to municipal financial records online and should be able to easily understand property tax notices. Furthermore, all municipalities need to be accountable for the rates they charge and should ensure they are competitive to align with the province’s Growth Plan goals and objectives” – John Hopkins, CEO, Regina and District Chamber of Commerce
“Our industry is ready to play a critical role in Saskatchewan’s economic recovery, but we need all levels of government working collaboratively to keep Saskatchewan competitive so we can attract the private investment needed to reach the ambitions in Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth. It’s time for the Government of Saskatchewan to show leadership and address municipal competitiveness so we can keep Saskatchewan growing.” – Gurpreet Lail, President and CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada
“The province should be a leader in ensuring that Saskatchewan’s property tax systems are predictable, transparent, equitable, and accountable. Achieving these tax principles, consistently across the province, will improve investor confidence and make Saskatchewan a competitive place to do business.” – Chris Bloomer, President and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
“Saskatchewan must remain competitive compared to other provinces in order to attract investment, foster economic growth, and support our partners in rural municipalities. To ensure jobs remain in Saskatchewan it is time to create a modern and competitive tax system so all in the province can continue to benefit from Saskatchewan resource wealth.” – Tristan Goodman, President, Explorers and Producers Association of Canada
SOURCE Saskatchewan Growth Coalition, click here to visit their website
For further information: Jay Averill, 403-267-1151, Jay.email@example.com
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